Feb 17, 2022, 5 Tips on Negotiating Your Bills Like a Lawyer

So, how can you save money by arguing your bills. My name is Stefanie Dorn, I’m an attorney out of Washington State, and I’m going to give you some tips on how you can negotiate your bills. First tip is talk to a person. When you call, when you have a representative on the phone, you can more clearly explain and persuade.

Second tip, ask if there is the option of a payment plan. We usually know this tip and that you can ask for that and they will let you pay slow, but my trick is right after you ask that question, say, and what is the discount for payment in full. Because by setting up that they have the option of a payment plan you’ve set yourself up to present them with a better option, well I can just take care of it upfront but how about thirty percent off the top, and you would be surprised how often, even with bills that aren’t huge-huge, companies are willing to take a substantial cut for payment in full.

My next tip is to break down the bill into sections so that you really know what they are charging you for and what you can argue for. So take some time to really go into and ask them, what do you mean a surcharge, a charge for my service, isn’t that your job? Things along those lines that you are going to be more comfortable with the more familiar you are with all the different charges on there. My final tip is that it can’t hurt to ask and just ask nicely, and there can be a lot of flexibility.

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Jan 15, 2022, Convicted of Domestic Violence in Washington State but Actually the Victim?

Mandatory arrest laws in Washington State have created many situations where police office arrive at the scene maybe they are faced with a victim that is emotional, maybe they see defensive wounds such as scratches on the perpetrator and the police make the wrong call and they arrest the victim. Then the victim has to answer to the domestic violence allegations. The law has recognized the situation and just as of July of 2020 has changed the vacate statue to give victims of domestic violence a lot more leeway and flexibility in terms of vacating the convictions that were essentially weaponized against them as another tool by their abuser.

So, how this works is that the court has relaxed the process for vacating, that means taking away the conviction, on cases where the defendant is a victim of domestic violence. It’s something that you work on with your attorney, generally including declarations describing the situation anything supportive along those lines and then it gets sent to the prosecutor for review and goes from there. This is a really positive trend in essentially trying to recognize that the domestic violence rules could have gone a little too far sometimes with the mandatory arrests and the consequences of that.

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Dec 30, 2021, Owe Court Fines in Washington, you may Still be Able to Expunge Your Record!

Anyone that has ever been involved in the criminal justice system it is a lot of $100 here, $300 there, $600 there. It adds up quite a bit, and a lot of times these outstanding financial obligations are what get in the way of people sealing their record, vacating their record, or otherwise just moving past it. So, if you are somebody that is looking at an extraordinary amount of debt to the court, the first thing I always say is consistency is key. You want to make consistent payment of what you can afford, at the very minimum.

I’ve had clients that have paid $10 a month for 3 years on very-very large bills and made little dents in them, but based on that payment history, the prosecutor was willing to waive the interest and she waived part of the principal, so there is a lot of flexibility in terms of the interest especially. So, if you are looking at a heavy restitution bill, give an attorney a call because there might be some flexibility in those numbers, and they might be able to help you move past it. My name is Stefanie Dorn, and you can give my office a call if you like.

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Nov 4, 2021, Juvenile Washington Criminal Record Holding you Back? Seal it!

You are likely eligible to have that juvenile record sealed. Sealed goes a step farther than vacating and instead of just un-doing the conviction essentially clears up the entire record making it not accessible to public access, to those data mine companies that get all that information for money. In Washington State eligibility is pretty broad and most people that I speak to, I find that they do qualify.

You have to have stayed out of trouble for 2 years, consecutive crime free, it doesn’t have to be the last 2 years, just 2 years without any trouble. That’s for B felonies, C felonies, and gross misdemeanors. It’s 5 years for class A felonies. And then paid all your restitution, restitution can be negotiated too. If it is something where you haven’t paid in full, you can talk to an attorney about it.

The final requirement is that you are not required to register as a sex offender. Those are what the court is looking at to determine if you can seal your juvenile record. An attorney can help you with this. Give my office a call.

Oct 9, 2021, Have a Washington State Drug Conviction? You are Entitled to Relief!

State v. Blake is a big game changer out here in Washington State because it is taking all of the convictions that have ever happened, since the 70s and all that, on possession of drug cases and saying that this law that it was charged under is a bad invalid law and so therefore these convictions cannot stand. This came because a woman was convicted for having methamphetamine in her pants pockets, but the pants weren’t hers. She had borrowed them, her friend got them at a thrift store.

The Court said we can’t punish unknowing possession, that’s not fair that she’s responsible for something that she didn’t even know was in her pocket. So, we have to look at this law and since it doesn’t have an intent element, that means that none of the convictions under this law or valid.

So, what does this mean? Does this mean they are going to throw them all out? They probably should. But instead what they’re doing is coming up procedures and processes and you generally need to work with the courts to get the case off of your record. Since I made this video, some prosecutor’s office, such as King County, are even petitioning the court on behalf of the defendants. They have streamlined the process and it is much simpler than a regular vacate.

Courts are also working to get people back any legal financial obligations they have paid on those drug cases. So, it’s a very progressive area law, there is a lot of movement, and I would be happy to help you with it.

Jun 18, 2021, Have a Washington Arrest Record? Most Non-Conviction Arrests are Eligible to be Expunged!

In this post I want to talk about expunging an arrest and what that means and how the process works and how a Washington state expungement lawyer can help you with it. So, there are situations where someone is arrested for a crime and then they are charged with the crime maybe they are not charged with the crime, but it results without a conviction. Maybe you entered into some type of a deal with the prosecutor where it would stay not a conviction if you complied with the terms, such as a stipulated order of continuance, maybe you were found not guilty, maybe charges were never filed.

If you have an arrest but not a conviction, you may qualify to expunge the arrest record. It is a paperwork process I help clients with, it involves sending a fingerprinting kit and prepared paperwork as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for me. I get it back, write a letter and send it to the Washington State Patrol.

What that essentially does as clears the arrest from the Washington State Patrol database and then they are the repository or holder of records and then they send that information to the FBI for the FBI to update their databases as well. Expunging an arrest is something that people consider when they are having issues with travel, perhaps for immigration, employment or housing or just to feel like you have a clean slate. My office can help. Please give me a call.

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Mar 19, 2021, Have a Washington Felony Record? Vacate it! New Laws Mean More People Qualify.

If you have a felony conviction on your record, you may be wondering if there is a way to clear it. The good news is that it is possible to vacate a felony conviction in Washington State. In this blog post, I will explain what vacating a felony conviction means, which types of felonies are eligible, and the process for determining if you qualify for this process.

What Is Vacating a Felony Conviction?

Vacating a felony conviction means that you are released from all the penalties and disabilities associated with the crime. You can state for all purposes, including housing and employment, that you have not been convicted. Essentially, your record is cleared of the conviction. However, it is important to note that the conviction will still show up on your criminal history, but it will show that it has been vacated.

Which Types of Felonies Are Eligible?

Eligibility for vacating a felony conviction in Washington State depends on the class or type of felony. Class A felonies, which are the most serious, cannot be vacated. However, the majority of Class B and Class C felonies can be vacated. Examples of Class B felonies include auto theft, burglary, and certain types of assault. Class C felonies include certain types of theft, forgery, and drug cases.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Vacating a Felony Conviction?

In order to be eligible to vacate a Class B or C felony, a sufficient amount of time must have passed. For Class B or more serious felonies, it must have been 10 years since you completed all of your requirements, including your sentence, fees, and any other conditions, and 10 years without any other convictions. For Class C felonies, such as theft and drug charges, it must have been 5 years since you completed everything and 5 years without any other convictions.

How to Determine If You Qualify for Vacating a Felony Conviction?

Determining if you qualify for vacating a felony conviction can be a complex process. It is best to seek the help of an experienced expungement attorney who can review your case and determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. As a Washington State expungement attorney, I can guide you through this process and help you understand your options. You can contact me, Stefanie Dorn, at (206) 222-8829 to learn more.

In conclusion, vacating a felony conviction in Washington State can provide many benefits for your future, including improved job prospects and housing options. If you have a Class B or C felony on your record, and sufficient time has passed, it’s worth exploring whether you qualify for vacating your conviction. Contact my office today to learn about your options and take the first step towards a brighter future.

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Mar 19, 2021, Clearing Your Record: Vacating a Misdemeanor Conviction in Washington State

As an expungement attorney in Washington State, I often receive questions about vacating misdemeanor convictions. In this blog post, I’ll discuss what vacating a conviction means and how to determine if you are eligible for this process.

Vacating a conviction means that your guilty plea or the verdict of guilt is withdrawn, and a not guilty plea is entered. The charging document is then dismissed, which allows you to state for all purposes, including housing and employment, that you have not been convicted of the offense. However, it’s important to note that the conviction will still show up on your criminal history, but it will show that it has been vacated.

Eligibility for vacating a misdemeanor conviction in Washington State depends on the case type. Certain sex offenses and DUIs are not eligible unless they have been amended down to a reduced charge. However, the majority of other misdemeanors and assorted crimes, including domestic violence, are eligible for vacating.

The timeframe to qualify for vacating a conviction also depends on the case type. For domestic violence offenses, at least five years must have passed since you have completed everything. For general offenses, such as criminal trespass, theft, or harassment, at least three years must have passed since you have completed all the terms and conditions of your sentence and stayed out of trouble since then.

If you think you may be eligible for vacating a misdemeanor conviction, it’s best to seek the help of an experienced expungement attorney. I am available to review your case and determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. You can reach me, Stefanie Dorn, at (206) 222-8829 for assistance. Don’t let a past conviction hold you back any longer – call my office today to learn about your options.

Mar 19, 2021, Understanding Vacating a Conviction in Washington State

In Washington State, vacating a conviction can provide a fresh start for individuals who have completed their sentence and have been crime-free for a certain period of time. Expungement attorney Stefanie Dorn clarifies that vacating and expunging a conviction mean the same thing: turning a guilty plea or verdict into a not guilty verdict. Once a conviction is vacated, the court dismisses the charging document and releases the person from all penalties and disabilities associated with the crime. This allows individuals to state for all purposes, including housing and employment, that they have not been convicted of the offense.

The process of vacating a conviction involves submitting a petition to the court and meeting certain eligibility requirements, such as completing all the terms of the sentence and staying out of trouble for a specific period of time. The Washington State Patrol is responsible for processing the vacated record and updating their records. They also send the updated record to the FBI, who remove the conviction from their records.

If you are interested in vacating a conviction in Washington State, contact expungement attorney Stefanie Dorn at [email protected] or call (206) 222-8829 to determine your eligibility and receive guidance throughout the process.

Mar 19, 2021, How to Vacate a Reckless or Negligent Driving Conviction in Washington State

Have you been convicted of reckless driving or negligent driving in Washington State after a DUI charge? If so, you may be eligible to vacate that conviction and start fresh. In this blog post, we’ll explore the requirements for vacating a conviction and how the Law Office of Stefanie Dorn can help.

To be eligible to vacate a reckless driving or negligent driving conviction, it must have been 10 years since your arrest and you must have completed all the terms of your sentence. Additionally, you must have stayed out of trouble for a period of time following the conviction. If these conditions apply to you, you may be able to vacate the conviction and have it removed from your criminal record.

At the Law Office of Stefanie Dorn, we have over a decade of experience helping clients vacate their criminal records. We understand the impact that a criminal record can have on your life, including employment opportunities, housing, and even your ability to travel. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping our clients achieve a fresh start and move forward with their lives.

If you’re interested in vacating your reckless driving or negligent driving conviction, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to determine your eligibility and guide you through the process, answering any questions you may have along the way.

To schedule a consultation with our experienced Washington State expungement attorney, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at (206) 222-8829. Take the first step towards a better future – contact us today.

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